equipment
Why Now is the Time to Splurge on an “All-In-One” Machine
Multi-taskers aren’t usually very good at anything. This was the exception.
06-21-2021
Lisa McManus

All-in-one machines make big promises. They say they’ll replace your countertop-hogging appliances such as the food processor, stand mixer, and blender—plus some pots and pans—with one device. (What exactly is an all-in-one machine anyway? Click here to read our guide.)

The best-known brand is Thermomix, which has dominated European kitchens for decades. But we tested the Thermomix and some rivals and were less than impressed, especially given the roughly $1,500 price tag on the top model, the TM6, which we could only recommend with reservations. 

Along came Cuisinart’s Complete Chef Cooking Food Processor, at less than half the price of the TM6. I tested it, and surprised even myself when I fell in love. It aced all the tests I used to select our top-rated food processor; it mixed doughs and batters like our favorite stand mixers. It cooks, too, whether you’re making your own recipes or using the 200-plus built-in ones that it walks you through on a video touchscreen. The only place it choked was as a blender; it left chunks in my smoothies. But it did everything else beautifully and was a pleasure to use, while being supersimple to handle and clean, by hand or dishwasher. (Read more about our all-in-one machine testing here.)

Our Winning All-In-One Machine

Highly Recommended

The Cuisinart Complete Chef Cooking Food Processor is terrific, both as a food processor and multipurpose mixing and cooking machine. At about half the price of the best-known Thermomix, it’s well worth considering.

 

Unlike the Thermomix, you can remove the blades while cooking, so I cooked dishes including pasta e ceci and beef stew without inadvertently pureeing them. If you want to stir, its paddle has six speeds, including intermittent stirring. The clear cooking lid let me keep an eye on progress without opening it up; other machines had solid lids with tiny peepholes. I used its steamer basket to make hard- and soft-cooked eggs and steam vegetables. And I deployed its dicing attachment on potatoes and onions. (With a bunch of parts, the dicer isn’t worth breaking out unless you’re cooking for a crowd, but then it would really come in handy.) 

I tried several of its recipes, and they were simple to follow and surprisingly good. It was easy to make our own recipes, too. I made dozens of dishes including excellent hollandaise sauce—which the machine kept hot and creamy for a full hour—and sautéed broccoli rabe, and whipped up creamy mashed potatoes alongside butternut squash soup, farro, rice, and Parmesan risotto (where it both grated the cheese and stirred broth and rice into a creamy final dish). Cuisinart promises more recipes, which you can update using the machine’s USB port. When testing was done, I confess I kept it out for a few extra days. My family wanted more beef stew and it was easy to comply. 

Who needs this? Yes, at $700, it’s pricey. If you have a very small kitchen, consider this instead of buying (and storing) all the separate appliances it can replace. Unlike those items, it also gives you an extra burner because it can cook. A busy bigger household would also benefit, since the main cook gets a sous chef who will never complain.